Today I picked up a book that a group of women in Newton gave me, called There Is a Season which is written by Joan Chittister and illustrated by John August Swanson. As you might have guessed the passage from Ecclesiastes, “There is a time…” forms the theme of the book. It was good to pick up because I was reminded that wherever I am is the place I need to be – until I am ready to move to another place. Chittister writes of Swanson’s painting Ecclesiastes that “…the painting with all its complexities made it very clear: Life is not a drama made up of scenes around a common theme leading to resolution. No, I realized in an instant, life is a series of experiences, all of them important, all of them here to be plumbed and squeezed and sucked dry, not for their own sake but so that we may come to know ourselves. Life is not what we see happening on the outside. Life is what goes on inside the quiet, murky waters of our souls. And life is driven by energies too wild for us to ignore, too deep for us to hide. The painting, with its suggestion that life is the citadel of time in which we find ourselves and which we ourselves build, holds a terrible truth. We are our own captors.” So I am my own captor, and when I work through whatever it is that needs working through, I will! And if you find yourself in a similar place now or some time down the road I dare say the same will be true of you.
In recent weeks I have learned (oh so slowly) about dehydration and the impact on muscles. Two lawn mowings ago I came in with wicked pain in my buttocks all the way down my legs which went on for more than a day. I blamed it on some medication which was not new for me, but newly sourced. The last mowing I was a bit tuned into drinking water and ended up only with buttock pain. Yesterday I got up, had breakfast, and retreated back to bed – not so much because I was tired as because my day held no plan. When I got up and dressed I took the dog over to Wakefield where at 10:45 we set out on a walk around the lake….with no water...for 2 hours. In June I walked there with the dog and she seemed routinely uninterested in the water I had brought so this time I traveled light. That was June, this was August. I felt as though Nelly was on a forced march. We stopped and rested in the shade frequently. The water fountains I had my heart set on by the tennis courts were not working so we pushed on. While my muscles were talking to me, I was more concerned about what I was doing to my dog. We finally got to a working fountain (I did have a container with me), and then to a mobile snack shack where I bought a bottle of water to share. We made it home, sore, hot, and tired – but home.
Today I got up WITH a plan – attacking the garden which has been on the list for some time. And today I was smarter: 30 minutes of work, a pint of water; repeat. I do feel as though I am a slow learner, and aware as well, that age and temperature/humidity make a difference. While I was gardening, the neighbors had some tree work done on their property. At one point this afternoon the guy in the cherry picker truck caught my attention – he raised the bucket so high I was concerned. Full extension of the telescoping arms; extension of the base too! He was easily 25-30 feet higher than the house. Later I told him he’d captured my attention and asked what he had been doing. This was his response: ”Sometimes I just go up to see what I can see.” Good advice for all of us, yes?